Hi! Elizabeth here! Anna and I were recently brainstorming about our next post ideas and summertime snacks were one she mentioned. It got me thinking that I’ve fallen into a bit of a snack rut of late. I’ve been offering prepackaged peanut butter crackers A LOT lately. (Nothing wrong with prepackaged; I just haven’t been offering enough variety). Our mouths and brains get tired of the same old, same old. As Anna talked about in the post Variety - It's Not Just About Fruits and Veggies, our bodies and minds need variety.
And we also need snacks! With the transition to trips to the pool and the summer weather, it’s time to bring on some new summertime snacks!
Think of snacks as small meals
No matter your age, your body needs fuel at regular intervals. If you get too hungry, or your child gets too hungry, it’s a setup to feel grumpy, have trouble focusing, and feel a lack of energy. You’ll end up “chasing hunger” all day. (I'm not sure who to give credit to for the phrase “chasing hunger.” I can't take credit, but it’s a great phrase I use often with my clients.)
When I put together snacks, I aim (definitely doesn't always happen) to include protein, fat, carbohydrate, and a fruit or veg. I like to include these components because the snack will stick with you longer than if you eat just some cheese or just some fruit or just some crackers. If you have all these items together (the cheese gives you protein and fat; the crackers give you carbohydrates, and the fruit or veg gives you some carbohydrates and fiber) it will take your body more time to digest these. You will also feel more satisfied with the variety of textures and tastes. Think of snacks as small meals.
Though sometimes a snack might not end up being a small meal. It might be just some fruit or cheese or a pack of peanut butter crackers or only fruit. No one has time to make all of their snacks, and sometimes you might not be hungry for a snack that contains all three macronutrients.
It's important to remember you or your child might not be hungry for the whole snack and that's OK.
I decided I’d see what foods I had around that would make great snacks. Here’s what I came up with:
Berry Banana Smoothie
We make this one often in our house. (The recipe is at the end of this post). Especially when the weather gets warm, I make a blender full of it and it keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days. I like to make it with Greek yogurt for protein. It’s great to put in a chilled Thermos. (To chill a Thermos, fill it with cold water, put the lid on, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes). This is a great snack to send to camp or take to the pool because it's cool, refreshing, and filling. It’s also great frozen and eaten with a spoon!
Cookies, cake, etc.
As Anna shared in her recent post What About Dessert, offer dessert and let children decide how much of it they want. This really helps neutralize foods. If our brains know we can have as much as we want of something, then food loses it’s power.
Put a plate full of cookies (or strawberry rhubarb turnovers you're recipe testing, if you write a blog and like to test recipes) or a cake on the table with glasses of milk. If your child is old enough, let them cut the cake and serve it themselves. Or slice it and leave out the slices on a plate for your child to serve themselves as much as they would like. And of course, store-bought cookies, or cakes are also great for snacks!
Guacamole and chips
This is a staple in our house. Just cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, and cut the avocado in the skin. Cut up a lime, put some salt in a plastic container and you’ve got yourself Guac-To-Go! Don’t forget a fork to mash the avocado and some chips to go with! You can also just eat the avocado right out of the skin. Think of the skin as the bowl and just scoop out the avocado. We took this to the pool on Friday and it was a big hit!
Watermelon, cucumber, and feta
I love this SO much. The salty, sweet, cool combo is a favorite. We have watermelon around most of the time in the summer. It’s so refreshing - not to mention portable. I love these little cucumbers. They’re at our farmer’s market this time of year. Just wash them and serve them whole.
Your children might ignore the feta cheese, but keep offering it.
Frozen yogurt and fruit
Keep some of your favorite yogurts in the freezer. Serve it with some fresh fruit on one of those crazy humid days. (It gets incredibly humid here in the DC Metro area in the summers).
Trail Mix and fruit
I made a trail mix of Corn Chex, pretzels, peanuts, pecans, pistachios (just kidding-no pistachios. I just got carried away with the p’s) and dried sour cherries. Serve on it’s own or with whatever fruit you have around.
Cheese, meats, fruit and/or veg and crackers
One of our favorite neighborhood restaurants, Cheesetique, offers a version of this on their menu as a meal. Add a salad and some bread and it’s one of my personal favorite summertime meals. But, I’m writing about snacks today, so back to the snacks! This is portable and quick to put together. I often have the pre-sliced cheese on hand, but didn't today.
All of these summertime snacks can be put in plastic containers and taken with you. Of course, frozen yogurt won't stay frozen on the go, but it will be thawed by the time someone needs a snack.